As I was thinking about creative collaboration earlier this week, I thought of another collaborative project I wanted to share with you - Lena Corwin's new book, Made by Hand, hit bookstores last week.
From 2009 - 2011, Lena held workshops in her home studio in Brooklyn. The first classes she offered were based on techniques from her earlier book, Printing by Hand (one of my all-time favorites), but then she began inviting friends and designers to contribute their expertise as well.
Made by Hand is a reflection of those workshops, with 26 "classes" presented in book form. As expected from Lena Corwin, there are plenty of textile arts in the book, taught by various artists. These include an easy rotary printing technique, using a rolling pin as the rotary tool. There's also screen-printing, sewing, knitting, tea-dyed applique, batik dyeing, crochet, embroidery, weaving, marbling, and tie-dyeing fabric. Then there are a few other techniques such as soap making, jewelry, weaving, coiled bowls, even making your own beeswax birthday candles. All are presented in a user-friendly format, along with observations and advice for what you can (and can't) control.
With winter nipping at our heels, it's the perfect time to start gathering with friends to acquire new skills. Even if none of you know where to begin, you can easily use the projects in this book as a guidebook to hosting your own classes, however informal they may be. Some projects take more time and space, so perhaps you'll just have a couple of friends over. Others, that are more stationary (such as knitting and needlework), are easily adapted to larger groups.
Another nice thing about craft groups - you never know what you'll learn. Last year I had a friend who brought a different cheese and beer pairing with her for every group. I faithfully wrote them all down (because they were brilliant) to remember for the future. It had nothing to do with crafting, but it sparked all kinds of possibilities for me. Not to mention, craft groups are a great excuse to get away from your computer, to walk away from the tedium of everyday routines, and to just find the space to settle in a bit, to relax. I highly recommend them!
Of course you don't need a craft group to benefit from the pojects and techniques offered in the book. Any self-motivated crafter will enjoy it as well. But why not take a friend along for the ride?
See the book trailer here.